For the second time in a week, Washington Nationals centerfielder Nyjer Morgan made contact with a catcher instead of home plate. The first time, it was in a 14-5 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals, so that extra run did not matter too much. However, last night Morgan’s to eschew a slide in the top of the 10th in favor of a hockey check on Florida Marlins catcher Brett Hayes may have cost the Nats the game. Hayes made the out, but was injured. The Marlins felt it was deliberate and after the stunt against the Cardinals, I can’t blame them. Every one in the Nats clubhouse defended Morgan (Mark Zuckerman on Twitter), but keep in mind, they defended Elijah Dukes for two years too. Obviously, that is perhaps an unfair comparison, but clubhouses tend to stick up for their own. Had Morgan not had his incident against the Cardinals, I have a feeling this wouldn’t be a good idea, but he has gotten a rep.
Arbitration probably isn’t going to be a lot of fun for Morgan this offseason, he’d be wise to avoid it. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s non-tendered. Gunning for catchers, getting picked off on the bases, allowing deep fly balls to turn into inside-the-park home runs and having a .309 OBP make the nicknames, silver Elvis wig and so on at lot less fun.
I’m still glad they traded Lastings Milledge to get him though. At least Morgan’s six weeks of exceptional play last year was fun.